The disease has already been confirmed to have been imported to the following states from those who traveled abroad:
- North Carolina
- New York
- Rhode Island
- Tennessee (suspected)
- Puerto Rico
- U.S. Virgin Islands
The disease has swept across the Caribbean, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified 17 different Caribbean countries which have recorded outbreaks of the disease as of June 4, 2014. There have been over 135,000 confirmed and suspected cases in the Caribbean according to the Caribbean Public Health Agency, but the number could be much higher, since many cases likely have not been reported. The largest outbreak currently has its roots in the Dominican Republic. Officials from the World Health Organization expect the disease will continue to flourish in these areas for the rest of the summer, as more mosquitoes are able to breed in standing water, which is common in many Caribbean nations.
Due to the widespread outbreak in the Caribbean, the CDC is warning travelers to this area to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Anyone who does gets bitten and begins to suffer from fever, headaches, joint pain, joint swelling, muscle pain or rashes (common symptoms of those who contract chikungunya) a few days later should immediately contact their doctor. The disease is rarely fatal, but can cause long-lasting severe symptoms that can inhibit quality of life. It can even be debilitating for some period of time as a person recovers. There currently is no vaccine for the disease, but medication can be given to help with high fevers.
(Photo courtesy of James Jordan)